Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr. was the son of a farmer in Rockbridge Country, Virginia. He was born on February 15, 1809 in his family farm, Walnut Grove. His father wasworking on a horse-drawn reaper for twenty-eight years when he passed on the deed to his son. Cyrus was an industrialist and an inventor and as such, he worked hard on his fathers designs, fixed itsproblems, added new things, and created the first wheat reaper. He displayed his invention at Steele’s Tavern, Virginia, in July of 1831.
In the 1840’s Cyrus and his family manufactured thereapers through a local blacksmith. Cyrus constantly looked for other city manufacturers who wanted to manufacture his reaper but by the end of 1846, he’d only sold about 100 reapers. Finally, Cyrusmoved to Chicago where he built a factory, McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, and created new ways of marketing and distribution to benefit his growing company.
During the late 1850’s, his companywas a well known farming supplier to all of growing Chicago, and other growing industrial cities. In total, he world make over one million dollars annually.
In 1851 Cyrus showed his reaper atthe first world's fair in London, England. He cut a field of wheat in bad conditions in front an international jury, and won the highest award given at the fair. The award made him world-famousovernight. In 1879 the French elected McCormick as a member of the French Academy of Sciences, receiving that high honor because of his input in agriculture.
Cyrus pioneered many modern businesstechniques by using field trials, testimonials, deferred payments for merchandise, and labor-saving machinery for mass production in his factory. He combined vision, energy, and practicality with resultsto create a reaper that revolutionized farming and helped turn Chicago into a hub of agricultural trade.
After marrying Nettie Fowler, Cyrus got more involved in politics and Presbyterian...